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I need help

Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2011

Its Fifi again.

So since me and my boyfriend (whos with lung cancer) are far from each other now, we can only contact each other through email and calls.

Just today he confessed to me that he hate to be treated as a patient. He said that I treat him like a patient and he hates it. He cried when he told me that. I asked, in what way did i treat u like a patient. He said, everything, he said i texted him everyday every hour, asking if he's okay, if he's taken his medicine, bla bla. He hates it when i treat him like that.

So what do i do now? Like, maybe when i act like that, it remind him of his sickness? Cause he really hate his disease. So how to treat him?

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

I'm glad you recognize that he really hates his disease. Understanding that might help you understand that he hates being reminded of that disease and that lots of that anger really belongs to the cancer and not to you. I remember once going to work shortly after a cancer operation and totally blowing up when one more person (seemed like one more of many that day) asked me "How are you feeling?" I knew they all meant well in my head but I just couldn't deal with it at work and didn't want to be reminded that I had this guillotine called cancer hanging over my head. And that's how I felt. I apologized afterward and asked that she tell the rest of our staff just not to ask any more. I promised I would let her know if things were bad, but at work I wanted to be just as normal as possible. I didn't want to be seen as a cancer patient there. The question "How are you feeling?" almost never happened after that so I guess my temper tantrum made the rounds quickly!

Home life was almost as nuts. I wanted to be the parent and spouse I was before I got diagnosed but at the same time I often needed emotional and medical assistance. Eventually we hit some kind of balance. I would ask if I really needed help and then they would help out. Like the laundry basket (when wet) and yard work at times were beyond my lifting capacity. But they didn't want to hear about my physical problems on a regular basis any more than I wanted to be treated as a sicko. I found some support groups for the emotional support so I didn't have to talk cancer all the time with my family. I started walking and then went back to the gym to build up my muscles so I could do most things on my own. My spouse tries to remind me of medical appointments a day or two before they happen and offers to drive if I need it. But even when he drives, we talk more about dinner out than the medical stuff. I update him right after the meeting with the doctor so he isn't completely in the dark, but then we go out to dinner and mostly talk about "normal" or non-cancer stuff. I guess this way of doing things wouldn't make a great movie, but it seems to be working for us.

I don't know how much help your boyfriend needs with remembering to take his meds and make appointments. Would a smartphone with a calendar and alarm clock do the trick? He may prefer that to you calling about medical stuff and it could let you be his sweetie when you call. If you know he is doing what can be done for the cancer, you might be able to talk all those non-medical things in your life: movies, weather, family, clothes, political events, hair cuts, whatever. And make him feel like at least a little part of his life is still normal. You can get on the chatroom here or go to a local support group for cancer caretakers when you need to let off steam, but try to respect his wishes when you contact him. Good luck finding the balance!

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